2022 Central Standards
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Heartland Strategy focuses on growing support capacity for entrepreneurship in the four states of the Heartland region (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas). We do this through grant making, convening peer learning communities of practice and building the capacity of entrepreneur support organizations in the Heartland region.
CONTEXT & FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
The Central Standards 2022 Request for Proposals provides matching funds to encourage and accelerate collaborations between two or more entrepreneurship support organizations working together to support Heartland entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
Our work in the Heartland supports entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) as they work to build a more inclusive, collaborative, and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. The Central Standards RFP, as part of the Heartland Strategy, is intended to support bringing the most effective entrepreneurship support programs and tools in the country to the Heartland, in partnership with local communities. A key component of the strategy is to encourage collaborations between organizations in the Heartland and from across the country. This RFP will ask applicants to collaborate with a peer organization on programs designed to enhance support for entrepreneurship in the Heartland.
This grantmaking initiative has up to $2.8 million in funding available to match locally and regionally funded projects supporting entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Proposals serving all areas of the Heartland, including rural areas, will be considered. Proposals of up to $450K will be considered; the program team anticipates funding proposals of all sizes including proposals that are smaller than the $450K limit. Proposals will be accepted until the deadline of May 20, 2022. Grants will be funded throughout the application period as proposals meet RFP requirements and budget allows.
Goals for Program:
The Central Standards RFP will seek to fund collaborations between organizations that improve the capabilities and / or programmatic impact of Entrepreneurship Support Organizations (ESOs) already operating in the Heartland. Specifically, the Kauffman Foundation intends this funding program to accomplish the following:
- Build connections between ESOs operating in the Heartland and with ESOs based outside the region. Each application must have multiple stakeholders with at least one of the organizations serving as the Lead Applicant. At least one applicant must be based in the Heartland.
- The projects advance at least one or more of the strategic priorities of the Kauffman Foundation’s Heartland Strategy:
- Inclusive Prosperity in the Heartland: Funding programs and initiatives that support all entrepreneurs of all backgrounds in the Heartland.
- Rural Revitalization: Funding projects that enable rural ESOs and communities to provide the support necessary for rural entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.
- Transitioning to an Entrepreneurship & Innovation-led economy: Supporting the development of vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems, build new idea economy-relevant clusters, and diversify the region’s economy.
- Set clear standards for supporting entrepreneurs in the region.
- Bring great entrepreneurship support programs and tools from across the country to the Heartland.
- Expand promising programs already active in the region to support more entrepreneurs in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.
- Align local, regional, and national funders with the work of supporting entrepreneurship in the Heartland by providing match funding.
Who Should Apply:
The Kauffman Foundation is inviting applicants that meet the following requirements:
- At least two organizations are working together on the project and at least one of the organizations must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit. (Note: all grant funds must be used for charitable purposes.)
- At least one applicant is headquartered in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas.
- The entrepreneurs supported by the project are based in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and / or Kansas (applicants can serve entrepreneurs in multiple states).
- Your project would benefit from receiving matching funds from the Kauffman Foundation. The Central Standards RFP will seek to extend the impact of Heartland-focused entrepreneurship support initiatives by matching the funding of local and regional funders.
- The proposed project aligns with at least one of the listed goals of the Central Standards RFP (See “Goals for Program” section above).
- The co-applicants have raised, or are capable of raising, the required match support for the project:
- Match Requirements:
- Applicants are expected to raise a 1:1 match for their request over the course of the grant but will only be required to document a minimum of 25% committed match at the time of application.
- In-kind match is allowed and can include volunteer hours, support services, donated space, and staff time. In-kind match must be relevant to the success of the grant.
- A minimum of 50% of the match must be in the form of financial support from a third-party funder.
- Applicants will be required to submit a fundraising plan and will be evaluated on viability.
- Match Requirements:
BUDGET & AWARDS
Applicants may request funding up to $450,000 to be distributed over 12 to 36 months. While award amounts for individual projects will vary, we anticipate the average grant size to be between $50,000 and $350,000. Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with line-item requests.
ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS
This call is open to nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions that provide services to entrepreneurs, including technical assistance, access to finance, education, and other resources. The Kauffman Foundation is seeking to fund collaborations between organizations to address challenges in the Heartland, consisting of the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Collaborating organizations will apply as co-applicants and will be required to provide documentation on both organizations.
Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:
- Located in the United States.
- Have a record of successfully serving underrepresented entrepreneurs and engaging them in the activities outlined above.
- Employ staff and leadership (including board members) that are reflective of the communities they serve.
We will not consider funding for:
- Indirect/overhead expenses associated with the ongoing operations of the organization.
- Kauffman Foundation funding of the proposed project lasting longer than three years; programs may continue beyond the three-year project limit but Kauffman funding will not be available beyond the limit.
- More than one application per organization (only one proposal allowed).
- Projects focused primarily on youth entrepreneurship, real estate development, and / or workforce training.
- Applications will be accepted starting December 10, 2021
- Final deadline for proposals will be May 20, 2022
- Grants will be awarded on a monthly basis starting in February 2022 as budget allows.
- Grant awards will be completed by summer 2022. All applicants will receive notice of their application status within 45 days of submittal.
- Applicants are welcome to join Monthly Office Hours scheduled for the first Thursday of each month. Please see Applicant Support Section for Monthly Office Hours details.
HOW TO APPLY
The application process will consist of two-stages. The first is an application with details on all co-applicant organizations and the second is a due diligence phase. Within each online form, there are detailed guidelines for each section. To help you prepare, an overview of the application elements that will be included in each stage is provided below.
PLEASE NOTE: Applications that are incomplete or do not contain all the required documentation will not be reviewed. Additionally, please review the RFP timeline carefully. Applicants should plan to submit materials well before each deadline as we will not accept late applications or applications submitted outside of the designated systems.
- In addition to organization and primary contact info, budget numbers, and drop-down categorizations of the proposal, applicants will be expected to complete a series of questions that are specific to this request for proposals. Below is an overview of the questions applicants will be expected to complete:
- Work Relationship between Co-Applicants: In one or two paragraphs, describe the planned structure of the working relationship between the co-applicants.
- Fundraising Plans: In one or two paragraphs, describe the plans for and/or progress on raising the necessary matching funds project.
- Demonstrated Need: Have you conducted a review of existing programs designed to address your selected challenge in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and / or Kansas? What aspect of the market remains underserved? How will your proposed project close that gap?
NOTE: Some fields will require information for all co-applicants.
- Project Beneficiaries and Need: Information regarding community need, the target populations they are hoping to serve, and how these populations were involved in planning.
- Project Description: Information about the proposed project/program, including a project summary, start and end dates, detailed description, and the team’s implementation plan.
- Relevant Qualifications: Information on how your organization and staff are uniquely qualified to carry out the work described within your grant proposal.
- Project Budget: In addition to providing a Kauffman-specific project budget, applicants will be asked to upload a detailed overall project budget (using our template) that includes both revenues and expenses, status of other funds (if applicable), and clearly connects budget lines to grant deliverables.
- Organization Capacity & Financials: Information that will help us understand your organization’s capacity to manage the grant and overall financial health. This includes such things as your organization’s leadership/board, operating budget, financial statements, and most recent audit (if applicable).
- Evaluation Metrics: Depending on the size of the grant, applicants will be expected to report 1-2 outputs and outcomes that align with the goals of this RFP. Outputs are the activities, products, or services that your organization will undertake/provide as part of the grant. The associated outcomes are the changes that you will see as a result of these outputs.
Prospective Applicant Support
Prospective applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the following opportunities for proposal support:
Questions & Answers via email: Kauffman associates will accept questions related to this RFP and the application process via email. In order to allow time for a response, questions must be submitted by a minimum of 24 hours prior to the deadline for full proposals. Responses to these questions will be posted to the RFP FAQ once the question period closes. Submit questions to email@example.com
Office Hours: Monthly starting in January and ending in May: Prospective applicants can sign up for Office Hours calls with Kauffman associates to discuss their idea for submission and get feedback. Kauffman Associates will conduct monthly office hours during the application period. Sign up for a call here.
January 6, 2022
February 3, 2022
March 3, 2022
April 7, 2022
May 5, 2022
Web-based Interview or Site Visits
As part of the application process, the review team may require a web-based meeting with the co-applicants to discuss the proposal. During your time, the program officer may provide feedback and suggest revisions to the scope of your project. Therefore, applicants should include appropriate representatives from all co-applicant organization in these meetings.
All application submissions will be reviewed by internal staff. Those chosen as semi-finalists will be evaluated by the program officer and grants administration staff in a final decision meeting. The review process for this RFP will take approximately 2 months from application submission depending on the requested funding date.
Reviewers will rate and comment on the following aspects of your initial proposal:
- Project / Program Design: Proposals will be reviewed for the quality of the program design. Leading proposals will incorporate accepted best practices and be responsive to the unique needs of the community.
- Co-Applicant Collaboration Planning: Leading proposals will clearly articulate how the co-applicants will structure the project team and their work together.
- Financial Viability & Support for Project: Proposals will be required to detail match funding and plans for sustaining the program after the grant period has ended. Additionally, for those selected as semi-finalists, reviewers will assess the full proposal against the following criteria:
- Budget and Timeline: The adequacy of the budget and timeline in executing the activities described within the proposal.
- Sustainability: The potential of the project to sustain itself beyond the proposed timeline of the grant.
- Organizational Capacity & Project Team Expertise:
REPORTING & EVALUTION EXPECTATIONS OF GRANTEES:
As a guiding principle, the Kauffman Foundation expects only one grant report every 12 months. However, as a steward of the Foundation’s assets, occasionally we will institute more frequent reporting requirements if the organization has a short operating history, limited financial assets, complicated organizational structure, expenditure responsibility requirement, or the project is experimental or complex in nature. If selected as a finalist, you will work with the assigned program officer to establish the appropriate reporting and payment schedule.
Finalists will also be expected to work collaboratively with their assigned program officer and our Evaluation team to develop a set of grant metrics. These will include outputs and outcomes that are specific to your proposal, as well as the following common metrics that all grantees in this portfolio will be required to report on:
- Participants supported
- Match funds raised
- At least one of the following: capital raised, businesses launched, or revenue generated
If you have questions about the goals or content of this RFP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please reach out to the SurveyMonkey help desk here.
TERMS & CONDITIONS:
Please review the following Terms & Conditions that guide the Foundation’s grantmaking and request for proposal processes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I would like to talk to someone about my idea before submission, who do I call?
Due to the volume of prospective applicants, our staff will not be available for individual calls. However, we will be hosting monthly office hours in 2022. Please see the Prospective Applicant Support Section for details.
I am having difficulty submitting my application, who do I reach out to?
For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please email email@example.com
I haven’t heard back from the help desk and the deadline is tomorrow. What should I do?
The Foundation will not accept late submissions or applications submitted outside of the designated systems. Therefore, you should review the timeline carefully and plan to submit your application materials well before each deadline. If you find yourself in this situation, please email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a for-profit entity or membership organization. Can we apply for funding?
As a private foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, can only provide funding for charitable activities. Therefore, if selected as a finalist you will be required to answer additional questions in order to determine the charitability of all proposed activities.
Can both co-applying organizations be based in the Heartland?
Yes. Organizations based in the Heartlands states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas are eligible to apply as co-applicants
Can one of the co-applying organizations be based outside of the Heartland?
Yes. At least one of the co-applying organizations must be based in the Heartland states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The entrepreneurs supported by the grant must be based in the Heartland.
Can we apply with more than two organizations?
Yes. You will be required to explain the role of each co-applicant.
Our organization is already partnering on a different Central Standards funded project, can we apply in this round?
Yes. You are eligible to apply. We may ask you to confirm that you have the capacity necessary to contribute to both projects.
Are applicants required to operate in all Heartland states or can the project focus on one state, region, or city?
The grant funded activities are not required to cover the entire four state Heartland region.
How do you define “Lead Applicant”?
The Lead Applicant is the organization that will be responsible for administering the grant. These responsibilities will include reporting on grant progress, distributing funds to co-applicant organizations, etc.
How do you define “Co-applicant”?
Co-applicants are any organization that will be working with the lead applicant in a formal capacity on the grant. This could include partnering non-profits, universities, or for-profit companies that are providing relevant services or support to the project.
Can an organization serve as the Lead Applicant on multiple applications?
Can an organization serve as a Co-applicant on multiple applications?
Can we consider discounts on services and technology to be “match”?
Yes, it would be considered in-kind match. Applicants will need to provide verification of the value of the discount.
Can you explain the match requirements?
We require 1:1 to match over the course of the grant. In other words, a $100K 3-year grant would need $100K in match by the end of the 3-year grant period. Up to 50% of that match can be in-kind. The remaining portion must be in the form of financial support from a third-party funder. Applicants are only required to confirm that 25% of the required match has been committed by the time of application.
What do you consider in-kind match?
We can consider anything that is relevant to the project and would make the work more viable, increase impact, or enhance sustainability. We anticipate that most in-kind match will be in the form of funds already available to a lead or co-applicant, volunteer hours, and donated or discounted space, technology, and services. Other contributions can be considered but will be subject to approval.
How do we confirm we have achieved the required match?
Co-applicants will be required to submit a letter from their funders confirming the match funding. The funding will also need to be shown in the application budget form.
My 501(c)(3) organization is affiliated with another legal entity. Is there anything I should be worried about?
In some cases, 501(c)(3) organizations affiliated with non-charitable organizations can be deemed a “pass-through” entity. This situation requires additional diligence, and while it does not necessarily disqualify an applicant, it is something we must be aware of early in the process to accommodate. This situation is common in dealing with Chambers of Commerce and other organizations that have both a non-charitable arm (including a 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), or private entity) and 501(c)(3) organization. In these cases, please notify the program officer at email@example.com to assess if additional information is required, and plan to attend one of the scheduled office hours to discuss prior to completing your application. In addition, please be ready to provide EIN numbers and financial statements for all relevant entities.